Keith Webster Keith Webster
President, Defense and Aerospace Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President, Federal Acquisition Council, Cyber, Space and National Security Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


May 20, 2020


May 20th OSD ACOVID Conference Call Notes: This Fridayâs call (May 22) has been canceled in light of Memorial Day weekend, so small businesses joined todayâs call. DAEC will cancel this Fridayâs call but we will pass along any memos or feedback we receive. DOD messaging is primarily focus on testing. Project Warp Speed: Senior DOD officials are being appointed to this project. Capitol is planning for a post-COVID return to work schedule, so stay tuned for coming announcements in the next few days. Last night, DOD awarded $2.2 million to Hollingsworth & Vose, who is making N 95 masks, filters, and other needed medical materials. DPA Title 3 award was given to Solero, out of New Mexico, which deals with space and solar cell material. is the portal for submitting white papers to the federal government regarding Title 3 Funding activity. New lending institutions for small businesses are listed on Project Spectrum: Building capacity on MMC Front> holds additional information. ASK: As we begin to go through the process of returning to a post-COVID work schedule, what is your ability to acquire PPE? How long is it taking them to fill orders? What is the backlog? What is the capacity in the market for industrial PPE? Please let Keith and I know and well report back to OSD with this. OID: OID’s Next Webinar: Wed June 3rd at 3PM: Teleworking Now and In the Future: How do we prepare? Trump signed an executive order delegating authority under the DPA to the CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to be able to make loans in response to COVID-19. DFC is working with OID to work through the policy and process necessary for that to occur. OID is suffering similar impacts that the private sector is seeing in work force management issues, slowdown of demand, etc. Each region is different, but up to 40% of the workforce has been out at any given time. Early and staggered reporting, outfitting personnel with PPE, capturing lessons learned and successful techniques and looking at financial mitigation needed to press on. OID has received a lot of congressional inquires regarding how to engage OID: there exists a perception that there’s a dormant excess capacity within OID and that at times of emergency, it can become a source of capacity to respond. But just like any business it is designed to do a certain specific thing, OID exists to provide technical competency for maintenance and sustainment support. So no, there is no idle excess capacity, they cannot produce medical PPE or items that are commercially available. Small Business: Army: Tracking $185 million of small business COVID-related obligations. Navy: No major updates, they are up 12.6% in spending this week as compared to last week. Airforce: Tracking $100 million to small business for COVID- 19, which includes 219 small business awardees. JATF: JATF is reaching out to vendors on their portal’s vendor list on where to find opportunities, how to register, and how to get PPE. DPC: On Monday, May 18th DPC posted Sec 3610 reimbursement guidance. Industry has until Friday May 22 at 1700 EST. Receiving a number of questions regarding funding COVID-related impacts, they are gathering information and will address those directly. DCMA: Progress payments have seen an increase in amount paid off. 322 progress payments worth a billion dollars were reported last week. Positive trend in reopenings vs. closures. Tracking 33 contact closures, 221 re-open, avg. days to reopen 17.7, average days close: 47.2. More emphasis on DIB impacts from layoffs and furloughs. More so commercially (aircraft and engine sector), less so within defense sector. Policy: Return to work guidance with critical infrastructure councils- they are putting together guidance. Not binding on state and locals, but will be considered best practices. They are nominating folks from the interagency to participate in this working group. Associations/Chamber: Is there was an opportunity for industry or trade associations to participate or contribute to the working group regarding return to work guidance? More info to come, but they will be seeking industry participation, rather than trade association. Questions were raised regarding DOD restrictions for travel, what level of normalcy will that have? Will you see normal travel? Phased-in travel? Is there a way to describe to Industry what that will look like? For ex, after Sept 30: for airlines, PPE stops. A number of decisions regarding DOD travel are being made at the Secretary level right now so responses will be discussed in the next meeting. Is the Exec order on DPA Title Authority focused only on loans, if so how much? Yes, the exec order is in regard to sec 302, and the authority granted is only in regard to loans. DSC is still discussing how much is available to take in loans. An info paper on title 3 specific activity will be sent out this week. Contractors working in government facilities, will they have access to tests? Pentagon has appointed a flag officer in charge of testing, they will circle back with this individual and let us know on the next call. PPE: Companies are facing major challenges with time to acquire and meeting standards. Who sets the standards for if PPE is good enough, why wasn’t this done before money was spent on acquiring it? How much of this cost will be covered? Industry is concerned that top-down instructions will be given by DOD and then additional instructions will be given at a facility level and then the two will have to be integrated, which will be time consuming and costly. DLA is working on this issue now, they are aware of the issue and will report back on the next call.

About the authors

Keith Webster

Keith Webster

Keith Webster, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Defense and Aerospace Council, guides the focus of the council to strengthen the U.S. defense and aerospace industries by influencing domestic and international policy on behalf of its members.

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